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Iowa 24, Wisconsin 10: Dump Around

Better dead than red!

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Bryon Houlgrave/The Register, Des Moines Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Your Iowa Hawkeyes rode a wave of defensive dominance and stepped in puddles of offensive omission to beat the HATED Wisconsin Badgers for just the third time in 11 games, 24-10.

Iowa’s first drive netted a crisp negative five points after minus runs by Kaleb Johnson, Gavin Williams, and a Spencer Petras sack.

Wisconsin answered offensive wet-fartedness with a 2-yard run and two consecutive incomplete passes. A 49-yard punt pinned Iowa on its own 12, which was able to get some breathing room after a third down conversion to Nico Ragaini.

The next two plays were a tonic: a 19-yard rush from Gavin Williams and an 18-yard catch and run from Diante Vines. I’m not sure if this was the first time all year where Iowa got three first downs on three plays in a row without the help of penalties, but I’d be willing to bet it was.

The next third down was the opposite of a tonic: Mason Richman whiffed, Petras got sacked at midfield, fumbled the ball and coughed it up to Darryl Peterson.

Wisconsin capitalized on its short field, marching down the grass by way of converting consecutive third downs despite experiencing little success by handing the ball off to Braelon Allen. Three straight runs didn’t do the trick for the Badgers, but it did set up the first points of the game to make it 3-0 bad guys.

A false start that maybe wasn’t kicked off Iowa’s first play of its third drive, and preceded passes of 3 yards, 4 yards, and 10 yards to get a fresh set of downs.

Iowa’s next three plays lost a collective 12 yards, thanks largely to Nick Herbig just putting the opposing offensive line into a box.

Thankfully, Wisconsin’s offense isn’t much better. Cooper DeJean found the ball in his hands to replace an injured Arland Bruce on the second Badger punt of the day, taking it 15 yards to Iowa’s 33.

A holding call on Beau Stephens after a 9-yard run from Kaleb Johnson hamstrung what could’ve been a promising drive. Three plays later, Tory Taylor booted it for the fourth time in 18 minutes of game time.

Hilariously, Wisconsin out-Iowa’d Iowa the next drive, and suffered from a Deontae Craig block on the punt attempt.

With the ball on Wisconsin’s 17, Petras hit Sam LaPorta down the middle for a 13 yard gain. Next play, Johnson, touchdown, Iowa. 7-3 good guys.

Four plays later, the ball was back in DeJean’s hands off the boot of Andy Vujnovich, and his 11-yard return made a 33-yard punt even shorter.

With the ball on Wisconin’s 44, Iowa netted just 4 points. LaPorta dropped a dart that would’ve been a big gain on second down, and Petras’ cage got rattled on third down to send Taylor to midfield.

The next drive showed from promise for Wisconsin, but Graham Mertz throwing into triple coverage on third down closed that window.

Vibe check!

Three straight runs from Johnson moved the sticks for Iowa, then a fourth consecutive run, this one from Leshon Williams, made it second and five as Beau Stephens limped off the field.

Petras was sacked the next play, and then the play after that, and Taylor was back on the field with 2:25 left in the half.

Wisconsin out-Iowa’d Iowa, again, and Mertz threw it right to DeJean for 6 points on the second play of the drive.

Hilarious. 14-3 good guys.

Lukas Van Ness had a monster sack on Mertz while Wisconsin scrambled to get points in the final minute 80 seconds of the half. Three plays later, on 3rd and long, this happened:

Not hilarious, 14-10 good guys.

Iowa was content to run out the clock and give it back to Wisconsin at the break.

It’s important to note the touchdown was set up by some weird timeouts Kirk Ferentz called in a hope to get the ball back before half and... sit on it? Either way, it backfired and Wisconsin didn’t need to rush to score anyhow. Also, Riley Moss not getting burned would’ve helped too.

The Badgers marched down the field to start the second frame, riding Allen to what would’ve looked like at least field goal attempt until the #Iowaing happened again:

Moss redeemed himself a bit and got his first interception of the year on that one, thanks to a tip off Kaevon Merriweather. His efforts were rewarded with a one-yard throw on 3rd & 5 and Taylor’s sixth punt of the day.

Mertz lost the ball on first down but sat on it after a 14-yard loss, pinning ‘em back to the six.

A fruitless effort gave the ball back to Iowa at its 27 thanks to a 56-yard punt that CDJ let roll past him for another 15 yards or so.

Three & out the next drive. Petras was sacked for the fifth time all game on third down. Iowa has 77 yards of offense at this juncture.

Wisconsin would not be outdone! Mertz missed a wide open guy, leading to another three-and-out and turning this contest into a starting contest between Ferentz & Jim Leonhard regarding who was going to turn to its backup QB first.

A middle screen to LaPorta on third and 10 sparked some life before Iowa called a timeout and killed its own momentum.

A few plays later, on third and one, Petras was sacked again.

On the bright side, Taylor’s 58-yard punt was downed at the 1 by CDJ.

Wisconsin was gifted a first down on a generous spot on third down to set up more mediocrity from Mertz.

A few plays later, CDJ returned Sconnie’s punt 41 yards back to its 17. He scores if not forced out by the punter.

After a 9-yard pass to LaPorta, Iowa found itself with first down on Wisconsin’s 5 at the start of the fourth quarter.

“What does Brian Ferentz have, as far as goal line plays... to find an avenue for a touchdown,” asked the TV crew rhetorically.

He had two runs up the gut, one to Johnson and the other to Petras.

21-10 good guys.

Mertz and the rest of his team officially entered the Thunderdome after Iowa’s score. The Badgers gained 15 yards the ensuing drive, which ended on a sack from Deontae Craig & Logan Lee, two guys with four first names between ‘em.

With a commanding 11-point lead, Iowa predictably turtled on offense, letting two Johsnon rushes for a total of 3 yards set up a Petras incompletion.

The conservatism paid off, because Wisconsin is Iowa and Iowa is Wisconsin and a negative-5 yard rush on first down doomed a Badger drive that ended on a 4th down attempt that saw Mertz’s ball land 4 feet in front of his receiver.

With 7:51 to go, Iowa served a healthy does of Leshon Williams, Johnson and Luke Lachey to the Badgers to help bleed 3 12 minutes of clock before punting it back to the Badgers.

NOT SO FAST! Iowa went for it on 4th down, converted to LaPorta, kicked a field goal to go up 24-10 and farted on Wisconsin’s face the remainder of the game, by way of a Joe Evans strip sack with just over 2 minutes to go.

The rest:

  • Game ball, to me, has to go to Cooper DeJean:
    10 tackles
    1 TFL
    1 pick-six
    82 punt return yards
    Downed punt at the 1
  • Honorable mention to Logan Lee, who just eats people.
  • This offensive line is not the best, man.
  • Offensive MVP is split by Johnson & LaPorta, because they combined for 105 of Iowa’s 146 total yards.
  • This is funny: